“We wanted to make the opposite trip by bicycle to the one my parents made when they emigrated to the Basque Country.”
In this way, the adventure that Patricio Bravo Becerra and his daughter Leire Bravo Guridi have experienced this summer could be summarized as they traveled the 750 kilometers that connect the Guipuzcoan town of Orio and La Zarza.
Descendants of Zarceños “my parents, grandparents, uncles, are from here”, Patri (47 years old) is a painter and his daughter, Leire (19 years old), a nursing student in Madrid.
How did this adventure come about? Who came up with the idea?
Leire: It all came about by chance. My father was going to take a vacation but it didn’t fit with my mother’s, so one day, suddenly, he asked me: would you dare to go to town by bike? I was a little surprised but it didn’t take me long to react. “Come on,” I replied.
But, do you usually cycle?
Patri: Well no. We do some sports, but not constantly. I have done the Camino de Santiago by bike twice, but it has been a few years now.
What type of preparation have you had?
Leire: Really little. We take the bikes to the mechanic to tune them up, change the saddles and we go out for two or three days to train.
Did you know the route? How have you been guided?
Patri: We knew the way to come by car, but by bike it is very different. Since the route was not marked, we were guided by GPS and, above all, by asking people.
How many stages have you done?
Leire: Well, in total there have been 7 and a half stages, about 100 kilometers a day.
How did you deal with eating and sleeping?
Patri: Well, everything on the fly. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner wherever it was necessary. We slept in hotels and rural houses.
How did a normal day go?
Leire: We got up early and left at dawn to arrive at the destination at noon. After eating and resting, we enjoyed the pool and planned the next day.
What difficulties have you encountered?
Patri: Sometimes the GPS has confused us. Not being able to travel on highways, we have sometimes found national roads under construction and we have had to take detours. Other times we have gotten lost. In short, a little bit of everything.
And the hardest thing?
Leire: The high temperatures, without a doubt, and the accumulated fatigue. Oh well, also the news of the death of a German pilgrim who was walking the Camino de Santiago. It happened one day before we arrived in Cañaveral. It shocked us quite a bit.
Any anecdotes during the tour?
Leire: Yes. When connecting with the Vía de la Plata, we crossed paths with pilgrims going to Santiago. They told us that we were doing wrong, that it was the other way around.
How was your arrival at La Zarza?
Patri: Well, full of emotion. We were going to the town of our ancestors. Furthermore, some friends from Bilbao, also with Zarza roots, who were on vacation in La Zarza, went by bicycle to meet us and we rode the last kilometers together.
Apart from this nice gesture, before entering the town we went to the cemetery to visit the grave of my uncle, who died last summer. It was a very emotional moment.
What memories do you keep?
Patri: Me, particularly, with the fact of having shared this adventure with my daughter, an adventure not without some madness, but I am one of those who think that in life you have to do some crazy things.
Leire: For me it has been a very nice experience, hard but satisfying. I have given up holidays in my country, but it has been worth it. I would like to highlight the kindness of the people we have met during the tour, always willing to help us.